1. Culture! Yes, that’s right, I say America has underappreciated culture especially their black culture which seems to be by far the most influential culture in the world. From music to movies to mainstream media, whenever I travel it always seems that America has found a way to influence other people cultures. They are definitely the cool kids on the block!
2. Sports Culture. America sports culture is second to none. Unlike most countries who have 1 or 2 main stream sports (usually soccer/ football), America has at least 5 major sports which are usually more celebrated than other countries with only one or two.
3. Individualism. In America, individualism is celebrated rather than tolerated unlike in Europe. A black person can be as pro black as they want to be and a redneck can be as country as he wants to be. In other countries it seems more monocultured where standing out is usually fond upon. America has a strong diverse set of people which is the strength of America.
1. Systematic racism. This topic deserves an article on its own but the more I learn the more I’m enlightened by the systematic racism practices of the USA. For example, in The Netherlands, the country strives to mix social housing among the wealthy neighborhoods because they understood that poverty is just as mental as it is physical. Poverty in America is usually concentrated and trapped by means of “project housing” and highways and railways to keep neighborhoods separated economically.
2. Expensive Education. To get a secondary education in America will cost you an arm and a leg. Universities are like country clubs, so breaking a poverty cycle through means of an education is really difficult.
3. Gun Violence. America is a wild wild west filled with gun violence and your occasional mass shootings. The strong and aggressive presence by the police do not help the situation, rather it reinforces it.
1. Peace and happiness. Peace and happiness is definitely a state of mind exclusive to each person but it definitely helps when your living in paradise. On top of that, people showcase more love to each other, from the way we meet and greet to the way we ‘hailup’ each other on the road. There’s a vibe in Sint Maarten that you just can’t find nowhere else.
2. Freedom. Theirs two sides of this coin as you will read in the cons section, but the loose enforcement of the laws and the laid-back culture gives you a feeling of freedom second to none. As long as you’re not inflicting harm on someone else or have dark tint on your car, you don’t need to worry about the government or police breathing down your neck.
3. Beauty. I’ve travelled a decent amount of times and I’ve yet to come across somewhere with a more beautiful setting and set of people like in Sint Maarten. Maybe I’m bias but if you think you know of a place, please let me know.
1. Poor Governance. Sint Maarten government has a culture of incompetence and corruption which is sadly a reflection of majority of the people.
2. “Backwards Mentality”. Although this is slowly beginning to change with the younger generation, majority of the Island’s population is uneducated which feeds into the corruption culture of the Island.
3. Lack of opportunities. To really make it in Sint Maarten you need an entrepreneurship mentality which many people are not blessed with or don’t have the resources to invest. Most of our students refuse to return home due to the lack of job opportunities and high living costs.
1. Good Governance. There are not many places in the world with better governance and organization than Holland. It is one of the few countries still ranked in the democracy index as a True Democracy.
2. Infrastructure. Theirs a Dutch saying which goes “God built the world but the Dutch built The Netherlands” and what an impressive job it is. From organized and futuristic developments, to timely highly organized transportation, to their flood defense and technology to their keen attention on the environment, I am really happy that I choose to study here.
3. Social Development. The opportunity to receive an education here in Holland is as easy as it gets. The country is extremely progressive and the socialism culture creates an environment where everyone needs to look out for each other. In the Netherlands they figured out that its better to pay for a man’s education and or housing than to pay for his prison.
1. The weather. I never knew how much the sun meant to my mental health until I moved to Holland. The grey skies, the windy and rainy winters can create or exaggerate any depression or down emotions you may feel. It is something you have to get used to if you’re not raised here.
2. Dry Culture. If you were born and raised you whole life in Holland this may be hard to understand but the culture is dry and cold. Its unseasoned chicken breast when compared to other cultures around the world. The Christmas celebration is Zwarte Piet which look more controversial than fun and the carnival is drinking beer in the cold to terrible music.
3. Taxes. Tax on tax on Tax. Supporting all of these social programs and advance infrastructure is not cheap, rather it is over kill. Depending on your tax bracket, sometimes the government can take more money than you’re left with.
Written By: Sheldon Ellis Sheldon Ellis is a civil engineering student with a vision to influence the entire Caribbean on city planning, traffic, green energy and infrastructure. This phase of my life will also be directed to awareness and public perception of better infrastructure. Hope you enjoy! Instagram: Shellymoss9